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Re: (TFT) More long bow reflections

Also remember that the reason guns became dominate over arrows was not the
penetrating power or certainly the rate of fire, but from the fact you could
train someone in a couple of weeks to use it properly.

 All the way up to the Civil War, arrows were faster and/or more accurate than
gun powder weapons.  The rifle used by hunters and sharpshooter of the
colonial days maybe fired 2 times per minute if you were very good.  The Brown
Bess the British armies main weapon in the Napoleonic Wars could be fired 5
times per minute but was inaccurate after 50 paces, a trained bowman was
easily accurate at twice that range some even farther.

 The Girandoni air rifle that Lewis and Clark had could fire up to 30 shots a
minute as I recall and was very accurate, the Austrians had introduced the gun
into service but found that it was too fragile for major field use.  That is
one exception I can think of, but again it was not a gunpowder weapon.

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 ------ Original Message ------
   Received: 11:52 AM PDT, 08/28/2013
   From: Max Koltenbach <mysterymax@ymail.com>
   To: "tft@brainiac.com" <tft@brainiac.com>
   Subject: (TFT) More long bow reflections

     Well, I guess I have to say that the Black Death probably had more to do
with the French winning the Hundred Years War than the military supremacy of
their mounted knights and their ability to withstand the effects of the
longbow. The French had bows too -- crossbows. But an English bowman could get
off five or six shots in the time it took a French crossbowman to fire once. A
discrepancy that won the battle of Crecy many decades before Agincourt. And
while I agree that we can't discount the deadly force that bullets pose, it's
also a fact that most bullets fired in any battle never wounded anybody
either. Yet the foolishness of sending massed charges against gun fire
continued well into the twentieth century.

       I grew up thinking the English longbow was the ultimate
pre-manufacturing technology bow. I've learned a bit more since then and I
know that other bows -- laminated, recurved, etc. -- may have actually
out-performed the old cloth-yard shaft, but there is no doubt that a six foot
long yew bow could put a three foot long arrow clear through a suit of decent
armor at a hundred paces -- and it didn't make much difference if there was a
body in there or not. Yes the shot had to be dead on to penetrate that well,
but these guys practiced a lot. There were laws on the books in the UK until
the 1950's (unobserved) that required Englishmen to practice at the butts
weekly. And you don't need to penetrate the armor every time to incapacitate
the target. A neck wound, leg wound, even a hand wound would put a serious
hurt on a guy -- and don't forget old Harold who got shot in the eye by a
Norman archer.

       The long bow is a bad news weapon. But it has to be used at range. It's
worse than useless in a hand to hand fight, Legolass notwithstanding, and it
is typically limited to lower class fighters (Robin of Loxley being a possible
exception). No historical sword wielder would use a bow. Swords throughout all
cultures have traditionally been marks of gentry, if not nobility. Gentlemen
fight face to face. Even to this day, we issue rifles to the troops and
pistols to the officers.

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